Senior Execs Shifting Lanes Before Exiting

By Association Adviser staff • August 25, 2016

Green exit sign slider

Adapted from a session given at the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo by:

Mary Lynn Fayoumi, President & CEO, Management Association – The HR Source for Employers
Rob Olcott, Managing Director, ORION Investment Advisors
R. Norris Orms, Vice President, Vetted Solutions
Marilyn Jansen, Executive Director, Corporate Marketing and Business Development, Association Management Center
Tara Withington, Principal and Vice President, Executive Director Incorporated

All ages were in attendance for this session on how to make best use of talented folks winding down careers with huge expertise. Withington opened by saying so much attention is paid to attracting NextGen leaders, but not much thought is given to capturing the knowledge experience of aging boomers. Organizations run the risk of having boomers leaving en masse, which could result in huge loss of human capital, especially at smaller organizations. As a result of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, many boomers are still working many years past their planned retirement age and this has created a bottleneck from the younger generations waiting to assume their leadership roles. High-performing organization recognize both the challenges and the opportunities, but for other organizations it can cause generational stress and cause talented young people to leave.

Just like millennials, those in the final stages of their careers want meaningful work and work-life balance, said Fayoumi. “There’s no one-size fits all solution,” but many organizations are creating a strategic ways for aging boomers to wind down and stay involved, while mentoring the next generation of leaders and sharing their knowledge and experience. They can become independence contractors (with reduced hours) instead of full-time employees. They can take on a less demanding role, but on a full-time basis (often the choice for financial reasons), or they can structure an arrangement in which they focus their time on what they’re really best at and leave the administration to others.

They key is to have a set timetable for the phase down schedule, not just showing up one day and saying I’m going to retire.

Jansen said many boomers are afraid to bring up succession plans because they fear being marginalized or having a coup staged against them.

All the panelists agreed that regardless of your financial circumstances, you need to start planning your exit strategy 5-10 years in advance. Olcott noted importantly that it takes a lot more to retire than it did during our parents’ and grandparents generation. We’re living longer. Health care costs and the overall cost of living are hire. Also, the expected return on the stocks and bonds in your portfolio are likely to be lower than they were 10-to-20 years ago, which means you’ll need about 90 percent to 100 percent of your salary in retirement to maintain the same standard of living.